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‘Minions’ Review: Family-Friendly Prequel to ‘Despicable Me’ Films

It’s been five years since we were first introduced to super villain Gru (Steve Carell), the lovely three girls he adopted, and his adorable yellow Minions who can only speak in Minion talk, yet have assisted Gru in stealing the moon and capturing other villains for the Anti-Villain League. But how did these little yellow guys come to find Gru, and what was their life like before they met him? Minions is a sweet prequel highlighting these little yellow supporting characters of the Despicable Me films and their journey in finding their new villain mastermind.

The film opens, and we meet our little Minions as babies, eventually growing up, working for major bad guys throughout history. Now in present time, the Minions (voiced Pierre Coffin) are in Antarctica and have no major villain to work for. Minion leader Kevin gets a plan to leave the island and search for their next boss, taking friends Stuart and Bob with him. The three minions eventually find themselves in 1960s London, working for the world’s first female super villain Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock) and her dopey inventor husband Herb (Jon Hamm). Scarlet and the Minions develop a plan to take the crown from the Queen of England and eventually one to take over the world. But what the Minions don’t realize is that not every boss is as kind or as honest.

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Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment have truly found something special in the Despicable Me films, and now, in this film that works both as a prequel and a spin-off. The animation is gorgeous and brightly colored fun for children and adults of all ages. It’s easy to fall in love with the Minions with their denim overalls and glass goggles.

Though the Minions have always been scene-stealers in the Despicable Me films, they truly get to show their personalities here. Kevin is the leader of the group, making decisions that he thinks best for him and his posse, Stuart is a one-eyed goofball looking to have fun no matter what situation he’s in, and Bob is a little sweet and happy guy who just loves his Teddy bear Tim. It’s a joy to see their personalities blossom and have their own story in this film.

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Though the Minions are obviously likable, the story here is just OK. There are many times where Gru and the girls were missed, which just goes to show that those characters are truly the heart of the Despicable Me films. Sandra Bullock is great as our major villain and it’s clear she had a lot of fun with the role. Jon Hamm seems to be happy to be doing anything that’s in no way associated with Don Draper (though he still couldn’t pull himself out of the 1960s here). But Allison Janney was wasted as a mere supporting character who only has a few lines near the beginning of the film.

Though it may not be as fully fleshed or as memorable as the Despicable Me films, Minions is an adorable, weird, and interesting prequel that stars our favorite little yellow love bugs. Stay through the very end of the credits for a fun extra scene.

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